VW Partners with Trustonic on Digital Key Tech

Volkswagen AG is partnering with U.K.-based Trustonic Ltd. on a digital key technology that allows users to unlock/lock and start their vehicle via a smartphone app without having a physical key.

The technology is being launched in select markets on the Passat sedan. Initially, the VW/Trustonic system is compatible only with Android-based Samsung devices.

The Bluetooth-based system doesn’t require a cellular network connection to interact with a vehicle. Users position the smartphone near a vehicle’s door handle to unlock the car. They place the device in a center console compartment to activate the ignition.

The system uses Trustonic’s cybersecurity platform to authenticate interactions and thwart attempted hackers and malware. Activation codes can be sent to multiple users as needed, thereby giving access to family members and enabling car-sharing applications.

Several other carmakers are pursuing or have recently introduced their own digital key systems. VW is a charter member of the Car Connectivity Consortium that is developing standardized specifications for digital key systems. Other members of the group include Apple, Audi, BMW, Continental, Denso, General Motors, Hyundai, LG Electronics, NXP, Panasonic, Qualcomm and Samsung.